Man accused of shooting Adams County deputy makes first court appearance

Posted at 2:49 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-27 00:27:42-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. — The man accused of gunning down an Adams County deputy made his first court appearance Friday afternoon.

Dreion Martise Dearing, 22, sat silently in the heavily-secured Adams County courtroom as a judge advised him of his rights. Some of his family members were present in the courtroom.

No bond was set during the arraignment.

“There is never a rush to justice. Everyone has expectations. They prepare for a sprint to justice. But as these attorneys know, it’s never a sprint. It’s a marathon,” Chief Judge Patrick Murphy told the courtroom.

The suspect has yet to be formally charged for the shooting death of Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, 31. He faces investigation on two counts of first-degree murder of a peace officer, one count of first-degree murder after deliberation, and second-degree burglary of a dwelling.

Dearing was taken into custody shortly after the shooting in the Thornton neighborhood Wednesday night. Gumm and other deputies were responding to an assault in progress near 88th and Dawson when the shooting occurred.

Judge Murphy told the defendant during Friday’s hearing that if convicted on the first-degree murder charge he could face life in prison or the death penalty.

After the hearing, District Attorney Dave Young said he still wasn’t sure if he would seek the death penalty in this case.

Dearing had a public defender appointed at the hearing.

“You have excellent attorneys. They do a very professional job here, a very difficult job. You should follow their advice and listen to them,” Judge Murphy told Dearing.

Dearing will be advised of the formal charges against him at a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. next Wednesday.

The affidavit in the case remains sealed.

“The court is concerned the release of information, at this time, may jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation. The court will unseal the affidavit when it deems appropriate,” Judge Murphy said.

Sheriff McIntosh thanked the community for their support at a Friday afternoon news conference and reiterated what his office had said earlier Friday. He said there still were not funeral plans that had been made, and said his office would not be speaking further about the case over the weekend because three other retired deputies had upcoming funerals in the next few days.

The Gumm family released the following statement shortly after Friday's briefing:

Our family would like to express our sincere gratitude for the incredible support and empathy expressed during this difficult time. We have truly been amazed by the generous nature of the community. Our hearts are warmed by the display of compassion from complete strangers who stood, and continue stand alongside our family. As we passed behind the tinted windows of a brightly lit motorcade, your heartfelt wishes for our husband, son and brother has given his life a beautiful purpose.

We have no words that appropriately say thank you for the donations  sent and offers to help to our extended law enforcement family as they continue to watch over our family and community.

We would also like to express our gratitude for all law enforcement officers who served by Heath’s side, and all those who now work to honor his life and service. This family support means more to us than we will ever be able to effectively describe. Please stay safe as you continue to watch over those you made a commitment to serve. You are all deeply appreciated. Finally, we respectfully ask for your continued assistance respecting our privacy as we move through this time of healing and much needed rest.